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Fisheries and Policy Implications for Human Nutrition


Purpose of Review

This review brings together recent key research related to the role of fisheries as a source of nutrients to improve human health and discusses the implications of fisheries policy on food- and nutrient-security.

Recent Findings

Recent studies highlight the critical role of fisheries to support human nutrition, describing the nutrient composition of hundreds of species of fish, the global distribution of these fish, and the strategic role of fisheries in addressing micronutrient deficiencies.


In many developing regions and emerging economies, fisheries can address malnutrition with local supplies of critical nutrients such as fatty acids, zinc, iron, calcium, and vitamins, making these accessible to low-income populations. However, this local potential is jeopardized by overfishing, climate change, and international trade, which reduce the local availability of nutritious and affordable fish in low-income countries, where they are most needed. This calls for policy reforms that shift management focus of fisheries as a commodity provider to a domestic public health asset to ensure food- and nutrient-security.

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Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    In fisheries terminology, “fish” refers to all finfish and aquatic invertebrates that are caught in marine and freshwaters as part of fishing operations.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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The activities of the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean at the University of Western Australia and the Sea Around Us at the University of British Columbia are supported by the Oak Foundation, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Marisla Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Minderoo Foundation, and Bloomberg Philanthropies through RARE.

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Correspondence to Gabriel M. S. Vianna.

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Vianna, G.M.S., Zeller, D. & Pauly, D. Fisheries and Policy Implications for Human Nutrition. Curr Envir Health Rpt 7, 161–169 (2020).

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  • Food-security
  • Nutrient-security
  • Micronutrients
  • Fish consumption
  • Small-scale fisheries, large-scale fisheries
  • Industrial fisheries